How Can Companies Build a Recruitment Strategy to Cope with the UK’s Skills Gap?

29th March 2016

tutor-606091_960_720UK employers are being hit by a continuing skills shortage in many sectors. This means it is often difficult to recruit staff who have the abilities and experience you are looking for. To combat this, organisations need to find a recruitment strategy which will help them to compete with others for the best talent in their particular field.

Having the right approach can help you to find and employ the candidates you are looking for in a competitive marketplace. This includes putting effective HR recruitment software in place as part of your company’s HR and payroll solutions.

Sectors Hardest Hit by Lack of Skilled Staff

Although the UK skills shortage is widespread, some sectors are being worse affected than others. Also, unfilled positions are not the only problem. Many staff are under-skilled for their current positions, and are described as “mismatched”. It has been estimated that around 1.5 million UK employees fall into this category, with negative effects on both productivity and performance. Within this, a shortage of skilled managers is a major issue, with a large number of companies saying in surveys that they are being held back by low levels of leadership skills.

The fast-developing field of digital and IT is one of the sectors where skilled staff can be hardest to recruit. This is set to be the area where most jobs are created over the coming years. One problem is that the numbers of computer science graduates coming through into the job market aren’t keeping match with vacancies in the field. However, this isn’t the full story, since there are also many digital jobs which require experienced staff rather than entry-level candidates.

Meanwhile, the UK also has a general ongoing problem with a lack of “STEM” skills, including science, technology, engineering and maths. This affects numerous different career areas where these skills are required, including the financial sector, where new recruits with accounting expertise are in short supply.

Healthcare and education are both also suffering from difficulties in recruitment. According to recent surveys, health and social care are the job areas with the most vacancies. What’s more, the position is likely to worsen, since much of the existing workforce is over 50. Construction is another field where vacancies are remaining unfilled, with demand in many different areas, from bricklaying to carpentry and quantity surveying.

Recruitment Strategies to Find the Right Staff

In order to find and recruit staff with the desired skill sets, it is important for companies to have an effective recruitment strategy. One of the most important elements for the HR team is how your organisation is being presented in the marketplace. As well as clearly stating what the job being advertised entails, you need to get across the message about why people should want to work for you. This involves presenting your company as a brand, with emphasis on the wider career opportunities for recruits, as well as the main employee benefits you offer.

Recruitment teams also need to explore different channels in order to find candidates. This includes networking with colleagues in other companies and organisations, who may know of someone with the skills you need. You also need to advertise in the arenas which prospective staff are likely to visit, which means making full use of social media. However, it could pay to think beyond Twitter and LinkedIn, and also target any industry forums used by people with the right specialisms.

The next stage of the recruitment process is to handle applications once you have received them, to identify the people your business needs and ensure the right skills fit. IRIS FMP Teamspirit’s specialist HR recruitment software can help here. The recruitment software can be used together with Teamspirit’s HR software module, and will allow you to track applicants at each stage of the recruitment process, generating all the letters you need. The software allows you to analyse your advertising and the applicants’ skills, as well as ensuring compliance with the law on data protection. Equality and Diversity reporting is another feature which can be used.

Our recruitment module can also be used together with Teamspirit’s web-based eApply software, setting up intuitive e-application portals for new vacancies. This helps to streamline the whole process and improve the candidate experience.

Of course, recruiting staff is not the whole story. Companies and organisations need to continue nurturing new recruits after they start, looking at their progress and monitoring learning and development. IRIS FMP’s Teamspirit recruitment software works with the Teamspirit HR and payroll solution to help enable this, with successful candidates’ details being transferred into your HR records on acceptance. IRIS FMP’s HR Professional software also offers recruitment administration as part of a full employee management system.

For more information on how to cope with the shortage of management skills in the UK, recruiting, training and retaining the staff you need, see our eBook Defusing the Management Time Bomb.